Bedford-Based Boston MedFlight on the Front Line in Covid-19 Pandemic

Preparing to transport a medical patient by air


A familiar sight above Bedford, one of Boston MedFlight’s helicopters headquartered at Hanscom Field

Boston MedFlight, headquartered at Hanscom Field, Bedford, has transported about 120 Covid-19 critical patients in the past few weeks, up from 70 just one week before.  I talked with Andrew Farkas, the Chief Operating Officer of Boston MedFlight.

Farkas says in his 27 years he has never seen anything like this. His company provides critical care medical transport to the region’s most severely ill and injured patients with its fleet of helicopters, airplanes, and ground vehicles, all of which are outfitted with advanced medical equipment and serve as mobile intensive care units.

Transport ambulances are another part of Boston MedFlight’s fleet

The company’s volume of standard transports — patients who don’t have Covid-19 — has gone down significantly. Currently, about 75% of their calls are dealing with Covid-19 patients.  Their mission, as it relates to Covid-19 patients, is to transport these patients from community hospitals to the major Boston teaching hospitals. In spite of their name, Boston MedFlight, 90% of the Covid-19 transports are done by ground ambulances.

Covid-19 patients being transported by Boston MedFlight are in serious respiratory distress.  The Boston MedFlight ambulances, helicopters, and planes are all equipped with onboard respirators and skilled staff and are able to provide advanced tertiary respiratory care.

Like all front line healthcare workers, Farkas said they are concerned about the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The highly contagious aspects of the disease add a new layer of complexity to the transport. The preparation for transport and clean-up after the company handles a Covid-19 patient is significant. After all transports of Covid-19 patients, the ambulances and aircraft go through an extensive cleaning that takes about 75 minutes.

Farkas said he was very thankful for the support of the community. Boston MedFlight is a non-profit entity and accepts donations. He noted how touched they were when lunch was delivered recently from Ferns, a restaurant in Carlisle. This donation was done as part of local efforts. Win-Win Initiative Supports Frontline Hospital Staff and Bedford RestaurantsThe Bedford Citizen – April 7, 2020.

About Boston MedFlight

Boston MedFlight was founded in 1985 as an air medical transport service by-and continues to partner with-a consortium of Boston teaching hospitals, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Tufts Medical Center. It is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. Click this link to visit the Boston MedFlight web site.

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